Filipino heroes have their own share of love stories. Let us look back at three bittersweet relationships that had unique beginnings and tragic endings, proof that love does not end with simple goodbyes.
The Supremo and the Lakambini
When Gregoria de Jesus was 18 years old, men began courting her. One of her suitors was Andres Bonifacio, the 30-year-old Supremo of the Katipunan. Without her prior knowledge, Bonifacio had already informed her parents of his romantic intentions and had been trying to win their approval for a year. It was about three months later when de Jesus finally fell in love with the brave mason. However, it was also the time when Bonifacio learned that de Jesus's father was against him, particularly because he was a freemason, who was then considered an enemy of the society.
Despite this, the two pursued their love for each other. In deference to her parents' request, Bonifacio and de Jesus were wed in Roman Catholic rites at the Binondo Church in March 1893 with Restituto Javier and wife Benita de Javier as sponsors. A week after, by request of the Katipuneros, the two were married again before all the freemasons in a house at Oroquieta Street, followed by a fine dine attended by Pio Valenzuela, Santiago Turiano, Roman Basa, and other dignitaries. That same evening, together with Marina Dizon, Josefa Rizal, Trinidad Rizal, Angelica Lopez, Delfina Herbosa, and Benita Rodriguez, de Jesus was admitted in the women's circle of the Katipunan and assumed the symbolic name Lakambini.
Bonifacio and de Jesus were gifted with a child. However, the child died of small pox at an early age after their family left their burned-down house on Holy Week of 1896.
Silang: Side by Side
No one would ever realize that the two would find comfort and affection in each other's arms in the middle of a battlefield.
At the age of 20, Maria Josefa Gabriela Cariño married Tomas Millan, a wealthy businessman, through an arranged marriage. He died after three years. Meanwhile, Diego Silang, who was also orphaned at an early age, worked as a messenger for a local Castilian priest in Vigan, Ilocos Sur.
Cariño was 26 and Silang was 27 when they met each other. Soon, they got married and fought together against Spanish supremacy and dictatorship, particularly on the matters of forcible tax and the tributary system. Out of her own free will, Cariño (now known as Gabriela Silang) joined her husband's revolutionary group. When Diego waged war against the Spanish authorities, she was side by side with him. She even served as the rebel leader's most influential adviser. When he was killed, she brought back to life what he had started. With what was left of Diego's fiery men, she assembled them and continued the struggle of the Ilocanos.
Gabriela was endlessly being followed by Spanish army men. On 10 September 1763 in Vigan, she and her men were defeated by the Spanish who overwhelmingly outnumbered them. The young Filipina revolutionary leader and eight of her men were caught and hanged in Vigan's Plaza in the following month, and were brutally beheaded. Until her last breath, she did not lose her dedication and loyalty to what her husband earnestly fought for.
Love Turned Tragedy
Many young men were smitten by the charm and natural elegance of Maria de la Paz Pardo de Tavera. Among the brave indios who fell deeply in love with her was Juan Luna, the renowned Filipino genius of the arts at that time. He was a direct contradiction to the splendid personality of de Tavera. He was a dark-skinned Filipino expatriate, comparatively short, and lacked manners.
Luna diligently courted de Tavera, who, after two years of being delighted with the sweet words and romantic artistry of the indio, finally agreed to marry him. After five years, they were gifted with two children, Maria de la Paz and Andres.
Tragedy started to strike their family when their daughter died in 1892. De Tavera and her son became sickly so they left for Mont Dore to be treated. Through a constant correspondence with her wife, Luna learned of a certain Monsier Dussaq whom she spoke highly of. This started Luna's jealous rage and paranoia that his wife was having an illicit affair with the Frenchman.
De Tavera's brothers, Trinidad and Felix, confronted her regarding the issue, which she firmly denied. her brothers and Luna arranged a duel challenging Dussaq, who refused it anyway. To reconcile the supposed liaison and the raging Luna, Dussaq was forced to sign a sworn declaration of his innocence, which Luna denied to accept.
On 23 September 1892, the day of their departure for Vigo, Portugal, their family was surprised by Trinidad, Felix, his mother-in-law, and Antonio Regidor, who demanded legal separation for the couple. The surprise visit from De Tavera's family was said to have inflamed what was left of Luna's ego. She and her mother locked themselves up in the bathroom with Luna screaming for them to come out. Luna saw Felix approaching them from the gate and shot him right away. His next two shots were directed to his mother-in-law, and the last one, to his dearly beloved wife. Despite the crime he committed, on 8 February 1893, Luna was acquitted and was ordered to pay her late wife's family a sum of ₣1,651.83, and an additional ₣25.00 for postage in addition to the interest of damages.
- Diego Silang, likas na matapang. Accessed 02 February 2008. http://www.seasite.niu.edu/Tagalog/New_Intermediate_Tagalog/Reading_Lessons/LESSONS/diego_silang.htm.
- Gabriela Silang; Simbulo ng Kababaihan. Accessed 02 February 2008. http://www.seasite.niu.edu/Tagalog/New_Intermediate_Tagalog/Reading_Lessons/LESSONS/gabriela_silang.htm.
- Manuel, Arsenio. 1970. Dictionary of Philippine Biography, Volume II. Manila: Regal Printing Company.
- Mga Tala ng Aking Buhay at Mga Ulat ng Katipunan ni Gregoria de Jesus (Full-Text) by Filipiniana.net
- Torn and frayed in Manila. The Spoliarium: great painting, decent opera, nasty man. Accessed on 4 February 2008). https://tornandfrayed.typepad.com/tornandfrayed/2006/06/the_spoliarium_.html.